After 63 games, the beautiful game proves once again that the quality of athletic performance on the field is as exciting as watching grass grow. Yet it remains addictive. Low scoring, slow play, timid attacks, suffocating defenses and excessive bookings, yet the drama of the event and the occasional all-time classic (Italy/Germany) always manage to overcome that, and make the world cup experience worth it. BUT the unacceptable thing for a true fan is questioning the integrity and credibility of the game. One can complain about the referees and their questionable judgment calls (and, as always, there were more than a few hasty ejections, penalty kicks, offsides…), but the minute one start speculating the involvement of bribery and behind-close-door deals, it is time to re-evaluate things. Why would you as a fan invest emotionally (and even financially if you are into gambling) in a game you do not trust? If English fans are in any doubt that the Argentinean referee had a hidden agenda against their team, they can switch to watching WWE, at least they know it is rigged in advance.
-Within the same lines, a “veteran” sports columnist concluded somehow that Beckenbauer and Blatter have reached an agreement where FIFA helps Germnay win the WC’06 in exchange for Beckenbauer not challenging Blatter for the FIFA president position, up for elections soon! How does a leading newspaper in
-The one thing that the English fan can really complain about is the way penalty kicks were taken.Rule 14 Penalty Kick: Art. 4 states that: "Once the kicker starts his/her approach toward the ball, he/she may not interrupt his/her movement. Failure to kick the ball as specified shall result in a rekick". The literal intrepretatiois that the mere act of a stutter step or not a clean, smooth movement to the ball will be a rekick. If you look back at the last Penalty kick taken by Cristiano Ronaldo (and maybe 2-3 other kicks before it), the execution of the penalty kicks can be questioned.
-A quick summary of another snooze fest:
-Speaking of GER/ARG: Beckenbauer and his new (kind of hot) wife looked very depressed before the tying goal. They had that look on their face like they cannot find the Viagra bottle on their wedding night. I could not get that image out of my head, even when
-For all those
57’ Buffon makes a miraculous save. He is face to face with Gusiev and he manages to block Gusiev blast. Zambrotta miraculously clears the rebound shot right at the goal line. Ukrain has outplayed
62’ A big shot by
68’ Zambrotta makes a great run from the left side and creates another goal. Game over.
The point is that until the semi finals none of the 4 teams have shown anything special, or not even played a single dominant game, where they completely outplayed their opponents. (Except for France who could not beat the Swiss and
-However, Italy/Germany was the marquee game of the WC’06. An instant classic. Even without the two last minute goals, the game featured high quality play and constant action throughout the 120 minutes. There was no stretch more than 5 minutes without a shot on goal or a scoring opportunity.
-As for FRA/POR, that was a good game to a certain point as well. It was really high tempo in the beginning until the French scored on that penalty kick. Now, keeping up with the “referees are bad” theme, and after consulting a group of soccer experts including former collegiate soccer players, the judgment was that the call was legitimate and correct. After Zidane took a Socrates(BRA) like PK and buried the ball in the back of the net,
BEST AND WORST lineups of WC'06
-The anti all-star team features the disappointing, underachieving and overrated players, who either disappeared during the games, or could have helped their teams much more if they stayed home:
BEST AND WORST lineups of WC'06
GK: It is hard to single out a terrible goalkeeper from this world cup. Most keepers did a decent job when they could, and a few of them committed more than one mistake, or directly cost a team a game. The award goes to Cristian Mora(ECU) because he ridiculously painted the flag colors on his cheeks like a female fan and hence caused his team a chance to beat
DF: Cafu and Roberto Carlos (BRA) looked gassed with nothing left in the tank. Puyol (SPA) looked lost against
MF: Ronaldinho (BRA) did not show a single moment of anything. Rena (USA) the team captain does not belong on a field and he turned the ball over in front of his goal costing his team the game against
FW: One cannot go wrong with an all English front of Rooney (ENG) who was not impressive in anything he did, and Crouch (insert joke here).
Coach : Van Basten (NED) picks the starting line up and Carlo Alberto Parreira (BRA) draws the plan.
-The all star teams has those who showed world class skills, enthusiasm for the game, constant action and eventually carried their teams to achievement:
GK: Buffon(ITA) he is easily the most confident goalkeeper out there, even before his
DF: Miguel (POR) has completely shut down Robben against
(Honorable Mention: Van Bronckhorost (NED), Thuram (FRA), Marquez (MEX), Lahm (GER), Terry (ENG)).
MF: Figo (POR) and Zidane (FRA) are the main reasons their teams reached the quarter finals, it is great that they came out of retirement. (Same for Nedved (CZH) who had a great world cup, but cannot be on the all-star team since his team did not qualify). Maxi Rodriguez (ARG) was more of a factor in midfield than his more known teammate Riquelme. Vieira (FRA) carried his team for two games and is still very active especially on defense. Gattuso (ITA) could be the best defensive midfielder in the cup. It could be a stretch choosing three midfielders from
(Honorable Mention: Ballack (GER), Essien (GHA), Van Persie (NED), Kaka (BRA), Hargreaves(ENG), Perlot(ITA)).
FW: Very few quality strikers in this cup. Klose (GER) is an easy pick. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) plays behind the sole striker in
(Honorable Mention: Robben (NED), Torres (SPA), Podolski (GER))
Coach: Guss Hiddink. The only coach in the world who teaches fun to watch "total-football" play.